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Lake Erie & Western New York Fishing Hotline

May 12 to May 27, 2022

Lake Erie, Tributaries & Harbors

The walleye night bite has generally been slow since the season opener, with some better catches here and there. Lake Erie surface temperature is currently about 48F. Walleye action should steadily improve as water temperatures rise into the low 50s. The nearshore shoals/shallows are typically the go-to spots at the start of the season. Nighttime trolling with minnow-type stickbaits at around 1.5 mph over rocky structure in 6-15 feet of water is a productive program. Shorehaven Reef, Bournes Beach, Green Hills, Van Buren Bay, Evans Bar, off Hamburg and near the mouth of Smokes Creek are good spots to try. See the Walleye Fishing on Lake Erie page for more information. The yellow perch action is slowing down, which is typical as the perch spawn progresses. Productive areas are now smaller and some searching is required to find a cooperative pod of perch. Depths of 50-60 feet of water between Cattaraugus Creek and Sturgeon Point is a good starting point. Anglers are seeing decent smallmouth bass fishing around the Buffalo Harbor breakwalls and in the open lake at depths of 20-35 feet. Ned rigs, tube jigs and swim baits are good bass offerings.

Cattaraugus Creek is in great shape at 477 cfs and dropping, while the other creeks are a bit low. Smallmouth bass fishing is in full swing on the Lake Erie tributaries, with good action in the mid to lower sections. Wooly buggers and streamers work well for fly anglers, while spinning anglers do well with stickbaits, minnows, and jigs with plastics fished under a float. The channel catfish bite is improving in the creeks. The lower end of Cattaraugus Creek is a top spot. Deeper holes in the other streams hold catfish as well. Nightcrawlers, raw shrimp, cut bait and prepared baits are good catfish offerings.

Niagara River

Smallmouth bass have been biting well for boaters throughout the upper Niagara River. The east channel near Strawberry and Motor Islands has been a top spot. Drift fishing with ned rigs and tube jigs, or casting swimbaits and jerkbaits has worked well. Shore anglers at Unity Island are picking up a few walleye at night on high-low rigs with minnows and on swimbaits. Other recent catches at Unity Island include rock bass, white bass and smallmouth bass, with the odd catfish or trout mixed in.

The smallmouth bass fishing is taking off in the lower river with bass available from the gorge to the Niagara Bar. Boaters can target bass by ticking the bottom with tube jigs, ned rigs and jigs with plastics, or by casting towards shore with jerkbaits, stickbaits and spinners. Some white bass and walleye are also around, and there are still some trout hanging around the upper drifts. For fishing access maps and lower river fishing information see Fishing the Lower Niagara River.

Lake Ontario, Tributaries, Harbors & Piers

It has been a banner week on Lake Ontario from Olcott to the Niagara Bar, with lots of full boxes and chatter about doubles and triples. Trollers report an excellent king salmon bite on large spoons, with some coho salmon, lake trout and the occasional steelhead mixed in. Gear run 50-80 feet down in 70-100 feet of water gets lots of attention. Trollers are catching big kings outside 100 feet of water too. For more information see the Pacific Salmon Fishing on Lake Ontario page.

Chautauqua Lake

The go-to area for nighttime walleye fishing has been along the nearshore zone in 3-10 feet of water. Casting shallow diving stickbaits has been productive for shore anglers and boaters alike. Trolling near emerging weedbeds has also produced some catches during low-light periods. Depths of 5-10 feet in shallow weedy bays is the best bet for remaining congregations of crappie. Small jigs tipped with a small minnow, one-inch tube or other small plastic are good crappie offerings. Be aware, effective April 1st, the minimum length for crappie increased to 10 inches. Visit the Chautauqua Lake page for more fishing information.

Inland Trout Streams

The inland trout streams are in great shape with moderate to slightly lower flows. Some streams may start to get a bit skinny without rain in the short-term. Warming water temperatures are driving various hatches on the streams and trout are looking up. Depending on the stream, there could be hatches of caddisflies, March browns, hendricksons and/or blue-winged olives, with surface action often better in the afternoon. Sub-surface nymphs still work well too. Productive offerings for spinning anglers include worms, salted minnows and small in-line spinners. Check out the Fishing For Stream Trout page for introductory information on trout baits, lures, equipment and techniques. As a reminder, new Inland Trout Stream Regulations became effective April 1, 2021, on many inland trout streams. To view stream access areas, trout stocked sections and more, visit the interactive Trout Stream Fishing Map and user guide.

Spring Trout Stocking

Spring stockings for all of western New York's trout stocking waters has been completed. For County lists of stocked waters and number of trout to be stocked, see the Spring Trout Stocking page. Call the Randolph Hatchery Stocking Hotline at 716-358-2050 for stocking updates.

If you need more fishing information or would like to contribute to the fishing report, please call or e-mail Mike Todd (716-851-7010; fwfish9@dec.ny.gov). Good Luck Fishing!